Instagram is today’s cultural and social phenomenon.
It has transformed the way a generation stays up to date with the latest trends, launched hundreds of thousands of new consumer brands and is becoming the defacto platform for social media influencers.
It has democratised creativity by providing a range of tools and features that anyone with a smartphone and a creative flair can be successful using it.
This is why most influencer marketing takes place on Instagram because its ease of use has given many wannabe influencers a platform to share their creativity.
As it’s grown, so too has the ecosystem of third-party Instagram apps to help ‘
Instagram has come a long way since it’s launch in 2010. Not only has it introduced all kinds of new features but the level of professionalism and creativity by its users increases each year.
If you want to improve your Insta game, using the in-app filters and editing software have their limitations.
Instead you have to use third-party Instagram apps to take it to the next level.
Here are 17 of the best Instagram apps to help you up your Insta game.
They cover everything involved in running an Instagram account from creating better content to optimising so it can be discovered more easily.
This list doesn’t include the somewhat dubious apps to get followers on Instagram or apps that help you get likes because these bot services don’t help you create a genuinely influential account.
Only the purest apps are included here.
Photo editing Instagram apps
To create great photos for Instagram you need a suite of great photo editing apps to have any chance of standing out.
In the early days, most people would post a picture directly from their smartphone with no prior editing or adjustments except layering a filter over it from the
Those days are long gone and today all the best Instagrammers use a range of photo editing apps to make their photos stand out.
Adobe’s Lightroom CC is one of the most – if not ‘the’ most – popular photo editing apps for Instagram.
It’s used by both photographers, influencers and anyone who is serious about taking their Instagram game to the next level.
Lightroom is both a desktop and mobile app and it comes with a range of professional editing features that are easy to use even for the non-technical.
It also comes with ‘presets’ which are one-click photo editing tools that add a range of editing tools that enhance the look of your photos.
Many Instagram photography influencers sell their own presets to fans as an additional revenue stream.
For anyone serious about Instagram, the Lightroom CC app is a must-have.
Like Lightroom, Snapseed is a powerful and popular photo editing apps for Instagram.
The Google-owned app comes with a range of features that allow you to enhance your photos to give them a professional look and feel.
Snapseed makes it easy for the amateur user but also provides a list of features for the more advanced.
It provides filters and advanced editing options including airbrushing, skin smoothing, spot removal and so on.
Here is a great tutorial on how to use Snapseed and all its features.
The VSCO app is a premier photo editing and filter app that also allows you to share photos on its own platform as well as Instagram.
VSCO (pronounced ‘Visco”) was an early pioneer of the photo filter and still today it provides next level filters for your Instagram photos some of which you can buy through the app.
VSCO also has an advanced paid-for version of its app called VSCO X with more filters and users are given the first look of new features as they launch.
Video editing Instagram apps
Instagram started out purely as a photo sharing app but in 2013 it launched video and was never the same again.
Since then Instagram has rolled out new video features like higher resolution, a variety of canvas ratios, live videos and of course Story videos.
As new features are rolled out so too are new third-party video editing apps with an array of tools that help you on all elements of the video creation process.
InShot is an easy to use video editing app that has been created with Instagram video in mind.
It allows you to trim, cut, merge and adjust videos directly from your smartphone.
InShot’s cutting feature allows you to easily change the canvas resolution of a video. Changing a square video to portrait for Instagram Stories is
InShot comes with a free and pro version, the latter of which has additional features like filters, stickers and removes watermarks and ads.
Crop Video Square
Crop Video Square is an Instagram video editing app that allows you to take any video regardless of its resolution and crop it to a square.
Instagram Story apps
Since Instagram borrowed heavily from Snapchat and launched the Stories feature it’s been nothing short of a phenomenon.
It recently announced that 500 million people use the Stories every day, up from 400 million in June 2018.
Stories will continue to grow on the Instagram platform and so will the creative use of them.
Which means, of course, that Instagram Story apps are being launched to help you improve your story game.
Unfold is one of the hottest new apps for Instagram. Launched in 2018 it helps you make your Instagram Stories pop with a range of slick templates and features.
The Unfold app includes 25 free and 75 premium templates to use depending on whether you want to pay to use it.
With its array of layouts and colours, you can create polished Stories using both your images and videos and by adding accompanying text to them.
Instagram Stories are a maximum of 15 seconds in length but what about when you have a video you want to share that is longer?
CutStory is an Instagram app that allows you to cut your long videos into multiple 15-second length clips so you can add them to your story in chronological order.
Using CutStory you can create a better experience for your viewers as they can follow along to your stories without any gaps.
While Canva isn’t specific to Stories (or Instagram for that matter), it allow you to create professionally designed Instagram Stories for free.
Even using Canva’s premium paid service, a high-quality Instagram story complete with image will cost you just $1.
If you’re looking for a range of different design options when it comes to creating Instagram Stories, Canva is one of the first places you should check out.
In June 2018, Instagram launched IGTV (Instagram TV) which is its long-from video platform and competitor to YouTube.
IGTV allows you to upload one hour long videos instead of just one minute long on the main feed and 15 seconds on a Story.
While IGTV hasn’t been as successful as Instagram would like, more people are using it to watch long-form vertical videos that are increasingly being created for it.
You can read Instagram’s official IGTV guide here (pdf).
Quik is a video editing app by camera company GoPro so while it’s not specific to IGTV, it allows you to create vertical videos suitable for the IGTV platform.
With Quik you can easily transform footage into videos that are synced with music. Simply add in your content and let Quik do its thing.
While it’s not an app for professional IGTV creators it’s certainly good enough for the regular user who just wants to create nice long-form videos of their recent footage.
Sometimes you need to communicate with more than just images. And while you can write in the caption section of an Instagram post, sometimes you need something more prominent.
That’s when using graphics come in. Graphics allow you to overlay text on an image or a video to help it stand out and
Previously you wold need software like Photoshop to do something similar but now there are a number of apps that allow you to do it directly from your smartphone.
Typorama is an app that allows you to easily add graphics over your images from your smartphone or tablet.
It has 40 different typography styles to choose from and according to Typorama they have been designed by world famous designers.
The app includes other features such as filters, layers and adjustment tools and also shadow and colour gradients.
Adobe Spark calls itself a ‘storytelling application’ which allows you to add graphics over images and video.
With Spark, you can add your own brand colours and fonts to make every piece of content you create in tune with your own brand and style.
The quality of graphics you can create with Spark is not surprising given Adobe’s heritage of design.
If you want to make your content easily discoverable on Instagram you have
How many? Instagram says you can use 30 in total and if you use that many you should add them in a comment rather than in the caption.
You have to be strategic with how you use hashtags. Using the same ones for each post may flag to the Instagram algorithm that your content is spam.
Instead change your
How? There are apps that help you to do it.
Display Purposes is a great service to help you find the best hashtags related to the topic of your Instagram posts.
Whether you’re posting a photo or a video, Display Purposes will provide you with the most current and trending hashtags related to it.
It also excludes banned hashtags from its search results as Instagram occasionally bans specific hashtags that are used for spam (porn and violence) posts and accounts.
You can use Display Purposes from either a desktop or mobile browser and you can choose how many results it offers you up to the maximum of 30.
Like Display Purposes, All Hashtags is a hashtag generator that uses the most up-to-date and relevant hashtags based on your keywords.
It searches for hashtags based on three different criteria: Top, live and random, which you can mix and match and add to your posts. Remember, the algorithm prefers you use different hashtags on each post.
Again, like Display Purposes, All Hashtags can be viewed on desktop and mobile browsers and should be used when to make your content more discoverable.
Planning and layout
The layout of the Instagram feeds is important to serious Instagrammers because how it looks can increase follower rates and also land brand collaboration deals.
That’s why there has been a growing demand
There are many of these Instagram apps available to download. Some are more comprehensive than others.
Planoly is one of the most popular planning and layout Instagram apps and provides a number of features other than planning.
While it is firstly a planning and layout Instagram app, it gives users much more functionality to curate and manage their Instagram feed.
Later is another popular Instagram planning and layout app which also allows users to much the same as
Both Later and Planoly have smartphone and desktop apps.
Analytics and influence I.D
If you have an Instagram business account you already have access to the analytics data it provides including profile views, website clicks, reach, impressions, follower demographics and so on.
But what about analytics for other users? If you’re a brand looking to vet influencers for a campaign or you want to compare yourself to the competition there are Instagram apps that help you do it.
Analisa.io calls itself an “Instagram AI analytics” service which allows you to analyse other Instagram profiles and hashtags.
Enter anyone’s Instagram @name and Analisa.io will provide you with behavioural and demographic data.
Analisa.io also provides data on the performance of other users’ post and includes a tool that identifies influential people who engage with your content the most.
HypeAuditor is another Instagram app that claims to be “100%
It allows you to analyse Instagram accounts to determine if they have fake followers and engagement.
With so much unscrupulous activity taking place on Instagram with people inflating their followers and use bots to fake engagement, it’s a useful tool to have.
HypeAuditor is one of the few Instagram apps that provide this kind of data so if you’re involved in Instagram influencer marketing it’s a must-have.
It also provides other user metrics including audience demography, interests, follower growth, brand mentions and more.
As Instagram continues to launch new features and as brands continue to focus more of their marketing and influencer marketing efforts on the platform, the ecosystem of Instagram apps will continue to grow.
For now, these are the best Instagram apps to improve your Insta game but that may change as time goes by.
Have I missed any out? Let me know.